A bit of a departure from the light hearted content that I strive to provide. It just feels right or perhaps cathartic to stray from topic and focus on remembrance. As a child, I remember adults talking about where they were when JFK was shot. Everyone had a story. The significance of each was a powerful reminder for them of a day when it seemed the world stopped spinning. My youngest who was only 5 on September 11th, 2001, probably feels as I did. But for my generation, 9/11 has become our “where were you when the world stopped spinning day”.
I wish I could say that I have a wonderful memory. Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m thankful for the journals I wrote about my children when they were little that serve as a reminder for their funny stories. I am thankful for my girlfriends who tell me about things we did that I have forgotten. I’m thankful for the freedom to go online and access an overwhelming amount of content about historical events, which I likely learned in school, but have forgotten. So much forgotten. Even memories that I thought were so important, I would never forget.
What I have not forgotten was where I was on September 11th. Who I was with and those first images of the Twin Towers on fire. I will not forget watching the second plane hit the second tower, or my husband saying, “I think YOUR city is under attack.” I’m a City girl. I watched in disbelief. It simply was not possible. Yet, as we watched we knew it was, and the sense of fear began to rise. My mom lives in Manhattan. The calls to her and between my siblings began in frenzy. “Where is mom?” We were blessed, she was fine. Then the next wave of fear and the uncertainty of not knowing what was next. I had four children ages 5-17, would they be safe? I didn’t know, but like a mother hen protecting her eggs, I needed them all underneath me, where I could pretend that somehow I could keep them safe. And so I gathered my chicks from their prospective schools and brought them back to the henhouse and continued to watch the horror of my city collapsing into a giant dust cloud of remains.
And as the day turned to night and the shock turned to dismay and eventually sadness. I was left with grief for those that were unaccounted for and relief that my friends in New York were all safe. In the weeks that followed I joined the country in finding a new sense of patriotism. I remain thankful for those that risked their lives to save others on 9/11. The brave fireman and police officers, I offer you my gratitude. My respect for you is overwhelming. I remain thankful for the New Yorkers, who are often portrayed unfairly as being rude, that rushed to the aid of those that were injured, disoriented and frightened. I am thankful for all that helped, prayed, donated, and gave to the effort to right my city. And I am thankful to those that grieved and cared for the families that lost loved ones on that day. I pray to never walk in your shoes and my heart will forever be heavy for the loss of their mothers, fathers, daughters, son, husbands, wives, and friends. It is simply overwhelming. I am thankful today and remembering the sacrifices made by others, our military, police, and fire, volunteers who keep us safe and allow us to go about our day to day lives in freedom. May God bless us all, and may the next generation never know what it feels like to say, “where were you when…”
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